Technology has altered the way individuals participate in work, travel, entertainment, and health care. It also has changed the way government provides services. Technology purchases of upgrades and enhancements are required, and that will not change. The value of the resulting benefits far outweigh the costs.
A study of new statewide budgets confirms spending will be heavy in the next several years. The budgets are filled with funding allocations for technology of all types. The modernization of old legacy systems in government has begun. It will continue throughout the decade because there is no other option, and it will take that long to handle the modernization effort.
Technology networks are precious public assets, and, like roads, buildings, and other public assets, the networks must be upgraded, expanded, protected, and maintained. The networks are connected to myriad software, equipment, protective services, and storage options, to name a few components.
The magnitude and the depth of technology services that governmental entities rely on is staggering. The significant increases in planned spending for technology upgrades is understandable. The country’s technology infrastructure is being reinvented and made more sustainable. Taxpayers and citizens alike will be better served and significantly better protected because of this national initiative.
Here are just a few examples of the diversity of technology opportunities that will be announced soon.
The state of Maryland will install new electronic perimeter security systems across nine state-operated correctional facilities. The systems in use now are old, and suppliers no longer offer replacement parts. An allocation of $37.9 million has been earmarked for perimeter security upgrades at several prisons in the state. The new security will include microwave technology, a detection system that provides alerts of any fence cutting activities. It will also have doppler motion detection that provides notification of unauthorized vehicle movements along the perimeter.
Officials in Maryland also have budgeted $13 million to improve the state’s existing public safety communications system. This funding will cover construction of radio towers, shelters, microwave radio links, and fiber optic communications systems. Many new technology offerings enhance prison operations and emergency management activities while reducing costs and resource demands.
This is a small sampling of Maryland’s much wider investment in emerging technologies. That range of investment will expand even wider as the state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes plans to spend $8 million for a new secure virtual private network for state employees who work remotely, $2.5 million for a new ID card system to upgrade the proxy access system for state buildings, and $2 million for a disaster recovery backup system for the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center.
The state of Virginia is also budgeting for statewide technology enhancements with safety in mind. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) anticipates releasing a proposal for new cloud solution technology soon. The technology investment, which will support the operations of VDOT’s Traffic Engineering Division, is expected to fall somewhere in the range of $1 million and $5 million.
Lawmakers in Florida have allocated $350,000 for technology to support the state’s fishing industry. The funding will be used for aquaculture technology transfer installations. This technology will support the state’s seafood farmers by fueling aquaculture production in an environmentally responsible way. The technology transfer systems will include recirculation pumps, piping equipment, advanced filtration, and chemicals for water treatment.
The state of Washington will provide new technology for people challenged with hearing loss. One example of a project will focus on providing more effective communication options for individuals suffering from hearing loss as the technology is installed across state institutions that include the offices of Washington Legislature, Area Agency on Aging, Home and Community Services, and Residential Care Services buildings.
Connecticut’s budget for the 2023 fiscal year allocates funding for an entirely new unit of government to manage the state’s new technology resources. Approximately $90 million is available to establish a statewide Bureau of Information Technology Solutions. From within the Department of Administrative Services, the bureau will ensure centralized and uniform adoption and use of new technologies. It also will provide training.
These are but a few examples of the ever-widening range of technology that is required in governmental operations. Planning documents also indicate new technology demand for smart buildings, digital technology related to citizen services, online offerings in education, Lidar services to assist in water and power sensing operations, big data gathering and analysis, and cybersecurity offerings of all types. It appears technology soon will be a component of almost every type of contracting opportunity in government.